By Joe Mahoney Staff Writer
The Daily Star
---- — COOPERSTOWN — Amid Otsego County’s effort to sell the debt-plagued Otsego Manor, the nursing home’s administrator, Edmond Marchi, has resigned to take a $107,000-a-year job running a similar facility in Schenectady County, officials said Wednesday.
Marchi has decided to take a job at Glendale Home, the public nursing home for Schenectady County.
Otsego County Rep. Katherine Stuligross, D-Oneonta, said she and other county officials had hoped Marchi would continue to oversee the Manor while a newly formed local development corporation seeks to line up a qualified buyer to take over the 174-bed home located just south of Cooperstown.
“He has been devoted to the residents of the Manor, and to the social model of nursing homes,” Stuligross said. “In many respects, he has been a fine administrator.”
Several Otsego County board members expressed disappointment that Marchi, 57, had not told them directly he was taking the job in Schenectady.
Contacted by The Daily Star, Marchi explained he was away on vacation this week, and only learned of the Schenectady board’s decision to hire him after that legislature voted to give him the job Tuesday night. He said he had planned to tell members of the Otsego County Manor Committee this morning.
“One thing has to happen before the other,” he said. “I couldn’t give notice until I knew I had the new job.”
Marchi said he is giving Otsego County four weeks notice, and his last day at the Manor will be July 12. During the next four weeks, he said, he will be training an incoming assistant administrator who will begin working at the Manor on Monday.
“I have a plan in place” for transition, he said.
Otsego is one of numerous New York counties looking to shed their public nursing homes as a result of spiraling costs and lower reimbursement rates from federal health programs.
Rep. Donald Lindberg, R-Worcester, the first county official to warn of the mounting subsidy that the county was providing to keep the Manor on an even financial keel, said of Marchi: “I won’t miss him.”
In accepting the Schenectady job, Marchi will be getting a salary boost of more than $19,000 a year. He is paid $87,732 annually by Otsego County.
The higher pay at the new job will also significantly increase the public pension Marchi will qualify for when he retires, as both the current job and the new one are aligned with the state pension system. The pensions of public employees in New York are based on their highest three consecutive years of earnings, plus the amount of time they have in the system, and their age at the time of retirement.
Rep. Rich Murphy, D-Oneonta, also voiced concern over the timing of Marchi’s exit from the Manor.
“Ed was instrumental in introducing the social model that has been so popular,” Murphy said. “But I’m very disappointed with the timing of this departure, and hoped he would have stayed a little longer to help with the transition from county ownership to private ownership.”
The head of the local Civil Service Employees Association bargaining unit that represents unionized county workers, John Imperato Sr., said Marchi’s statements of being passionately concerned about the fates of Manor patients now ring hollow.
“He stirred things up for the past year or two, and now bails,” Imperato said. “Where is his sincerity now?”
The Manor, which cost $30 million to build, opened in November 2004, replacing the county’s former nursing home, the Otsego Meadows. At 144,000 square feet, the Manor is twice the size of the Meadows. County officials had hoped it would require minimal subsidies from taxpayers.
In April, Russ Bachman, Otsego County’s acting treasurer, estimated that the county’s total annual subsidy to the Manor approximates $11 million.